Prof. A. David Smith FMedSci

Honorary Associate Director

Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology,
University Department of Pharmacology

Founding Director of Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA)


Professor Smith has spent his entire academic career in the University of Oxford, graduating from Christ Church in Biochemistry in 1963 from where he joined the Department of Pharmacology to carry out research for a D.Phil. (1966) with Dr. Hugh Blaschko FRS. He then held the Royal Society Stothert Research Fellowship and in 1971 was appointed University Lecturer in Pharmacology and Fellow of Christ Church. In 1984 he succeeded Sir William Paton FRS to the Chair of Pharmacology and in 1985 the Medical Research Council established a new Unit associated with the Department with Professor Smith as Honorary Director and Dr. Peter Somogyi as Co-Director. In 1988 he co-founded the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Aging (OPTIMA) which he directed for 20 years. In 1998, he became Associate Director of the Unit when Prof. Somogyi was appointed Director. In 2000 he was appointed Deputy-Head of the newly created Division of Medical Sciences in the University of Oxford, a post he held until his retirement in 2005. He remains very active as Professor Emeritus and his current research is into the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and, with Professor Helga Refsum, into causes of obesity.

Professor Smith was founding Chief Editor of Neuroscience and served as Chief Editor from 1976-2001. He was awarded the Gaddum Prize of the British Pharmacological Society in 1979, and an Honorary Doctorate from Jozsef Attila University, Szeged, Hungary in 1993. He gave the 1993 'Decade of the Brain' Lecture for the Brain Research Association. In 1996 he was elected a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and in 1998 he was elected Honorary Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and received an Honorary Doctorate of Medicine from Lund University, Sweden. In 2000 he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, UK.



Publications from programmes outside the Unit.

Brain scans: normal on left, effects of Alzheimer's disease on right